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Patient care with clarity: UCSD Jacobs Medical Center strikes new form in health care delivery

A 'patient first' approach was the inspiration for the hospital’s design.

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October 23, 2018 |

A new version of health care is being delivered at Jacobs Medical Center, a gleaming 509,000-square-foot, 245-bed medical and surgical specialty hospital in the University of California San Diego Health System. There, patients are in control: They can securely review their treatment schedules on tablet computers, adjust the room temperature and lighting, or adjust their “smart” bed to get a better view of the surrounding hills and ocean.

This “patient first” approach was the inspiration for the hospital’s design. With an objective to establish a healing, relaxing environment, architectural firm CannonDesign specified transparent solar control low-emissivity (low-e) Solarban® 70XL glass on Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass by Vitro Glass to provide abundant natural daylight and minimize glare and outside noise.

Although it met performance requirements, the glass specification had to be adjusted to achieve another design objective. That required close collaboration between Vitro Glass and Northwestern Industries, Inc. (NWI), a Vitro Certified™ fabricator.

“The architect wanted the building to have a whitish exterior look,” explained Frank Forgione of NWI. “We worked with Vitro testing various glass samples and mock-ups that could meet this requirement and still maintain the desired performance. Ultimately, we put a customized silk-screened white frit on Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, which we laminated on Solarban® 70XL glass.”

This configuration was used extensively, including the floor-to-ceiling windows in all patient rooms; the front-glazed, unitized curtain wall system; and spandrel shadow-box glazing. More than 100,000 square-feet of glass was installed.

To handle this high volume and facilitate the timely shipment of glass orders to ENCLOS, the glazing contractor, NWI used the Vitro Concierge Program™, which provides logistics management and customized coordination for large projects. By providing priority access to the glass, the Vitro Concierge Program™ helped to ensure the project stayed on schedule. “We worked closely with ENCLOS to meet their scheduling requirements, and worked through the Concierge Program, which allowed us to stay on top of everything,” said Forgione.

Other amenities were incorporated to ensure convenience and comfort. Patient rooms were designed as private suites furnished with smart beds oriented for panoramic views of La Jolla and equipped with tablet computers that patients can use to see their treatment schedules and medical records and control motorized solarshading, lighting and temperature.

Since starting operation in November 2016, Jacobs Medical Center has passed its check-ups with flying colors. Groundbreaking research and education, advanced surgical technologies and a patient-first ethos in an architecturally significant setting have ushered in a new era of health care.

Formulated with the industry’s most advanced triple-silver coating, Solarban® 70XL glass has visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 and a light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 1.85. This high performance, combined with the silk-screened white frit on Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, helped achieve design objectives and enabled the facility to earn LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the Silver level.

To learn more about Solarban® 70XL glass or Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass by Vitro Architectural Glass, visit

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